There are some health care issues buried in the now-passed “stimulus package” that could have very detrimental ramifications for health care in the U.S, particularly for seniors. FOX News has reported on this subject (but I don’t know if it was on any other “news” outlet) and Betsy McCaughey Ross, former Lt. Governor of NY during George Pataki’s first term (1994-1998), has issued a scathing assessment of the health provisions buried in the bill.
Who is Betsy McCaughey Ross? Well, she was dumped by Pataki after publicly clashing with him on issues like education and day care and unsuccessfully ran for the Democratic nomination for governor and then on the Liberal line in 1998.
McCaughey Ross spoke at the 1998 Women’s Rights Convention and Vision Summit. Her her bio for the event:
Betsy McCaughey Ross
Currently lieutenant governor of New York, Betsy McCaughey Ross is running for the state governorship in the November elections. During her tenure as second-in-command of the state government, McCaughey Ross has advocated for improvements in the early education system in New York and led the fight for patient rights and increased awareness of HMO abuses. Among her successes were the campaign for full state funding for prekindergarten for all children, effective early reading programs to ensure that all children can read by third grade and the Patient Fair Appeals Act which gives patients a right to appeal outside their insurance company. McCaughey Ross unequivocally supports women’s reproductive freedom, leads the fight against “drive-through” mastectomies and deliveries and champions lesbian and gay rights. She entered public service after successful careers as a university professor at Columbia and as a public policy researcher at the Center for the Study of the Presidency and the Manhattan Institute. McCaughey Ross has many publications, academic awards and prizes, but is most proud of her Mother of the Year Award.
McCaughey Ross left the Manhattan Institute and joined the Hudson Institute in 1999 where she planned to focus on Medicare issues. One thing she gained notoriety for was her criticism of the Clinton health plan. McCaughey Ross is currently an adjunct senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, according to the squib below her current commentary.
Here an excerpt of McCaughey Ross’ essay that appeared on February 9 at Bloomberg.com: Opinion.:
Ruin Your Health With the Obama Stimulus Plan: Betsy McCaughey
Commentary by Betsy McCaughey
Feb. 9 (Bloomberg) — Republican Senators are questioning whether President Barack Obama’s stimulus bill contains the right mix of tax breaks and cash infusions to jump-start the economy.
Tragically, no one from either party is objecting to the health provisions slipped in without discussion. These provisions reflect the handiwork of Tom Daschle, until recently the nominee to head the Health and Human Services Department.
Senators should read these provisions and vote against them because they are dangerous to your health. (Page numbers refer to H.R. 1 EH, pdf version).
The bill’s health rules will affect “every individual in the United States” (445, 454, 479). Your medical treatments will be tracked electronically by a federal system. Having electronic medical records at your fingertips, easily transferred to a hospital, is beneficial. It will help avoid duplicate tests and errors.
But the bill goes further. One new bureaucracy, the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology, will monitor treatments to make sure your doctor is doing what the federal government deems appropriate and cost effective. The goal is to reduce costs and “guide” your doctor’s decisions (442, 446). These provisions in the stimulus bill are virtually identical to what Daschle prescribed in his 2008 book, “Critical: What We Can Do About the Health-Care Crisis.” According to Daschle, doctors have to give up autonomy and “learn to operate less like solo practitioners.”
Keeping doctors informed of the newest medical findings is important, but enforcing uniformity goes too far.
I urge you to read the whole piece to learn about what Daschle has left behind even though he ws dropped as the nominee for HHS. McCaughey Ross includes the specific pages in Daschle’s book that will send chills down your spine. Bill Clinton began the discussion of keeping medical records by “electronic” means as a cost-saving measure; and it’s back on steroids as a hidden monster in this bill. Read how all this follows the model of what has happened in the U.K. and the ramifications, including this example:
In 2006, a U.K. health board decreed that elderly patients with macular degeneration had to wait until they went blind in one eye before they could get a costly new drug to save the other eye. It took almost three years of public protests before the board reversed its decision.
Some key points in McCaughey Ross’ essay:
- “Hospitals and doctors that are not “meaningful users” of the new system will face penalties”
- “The vagueness is intentional. In his book, Daschle proposed an appointed body with vast powers to make the “tough” decisions elected politicians won’t make. The stimulus bill does that, and calls it the Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research (190-192). The goal, Daschle’s book explained, is to slow the development and use of new medications and technologies because they are driving up costs.”
- “Daschle says health-care reform “will not be pain free.” Seniors should be more accepting of the conditions that come with age instead of treating them. That means the elderly will bear the brunt. Medicare now pays for treatments deemed safe and effective. The stimulus bill would change that and apply a cost- effectiveness standard set by the Federal Council (464).”
- “Hidden Provisions: If the Obama administration’s economic stimulus bill passes the Senate in its current form, seniors in the U.S. will face similar rationing. Defenders of the system say that individuals benefit in younger years and sacrifice later. The stimulus bill will affect every part of health care, from medical and nursing education, to how patients are treated and how much hospitals get paid. The bill allocates more funding for this bureaucracy than for the Army, Navy, Marines, and Air Force combined (90-92, 174-177, 181). Hiding health legislation in a stimulus bill is intentional.“
Well, the Senate passed the bill and now it goes to reconciliation with the House version. Get ready for rationing…
New York Times archive of articles – Betsy McCaughey Ross
Filed under: Current Politics | Tagged: "Critical: What We Can Do About the Health-care Crisis", "stimulus package", 1998 Women's Rights Convention and Vision Summit, Barack Obama, Betsy McCaughey Ross, Bill Clinton, Clinton health plan, Columbia University, day care, gay rights, George Pataki, H.R. 1 EH, Health and Human Services Department, health care, health care rationing, HHS, lesbian rights, macular degeneration, medical education, Medicare, nursing education, Patient Appeals Act, reproductive freedom, the Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research, the Hudson Institute, the Manhattan Institute, the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology, Tom Daschele, U.K. | 12 Comments »